Tall Chinese (?) casing - short Kanji translation/interpretation request
Article about: Hi, I just acquired a cut-short tall and heavy base of a cartridge casing. It was advertised (by someone who doesn't collect this stuff) as being Japanese, but it doesn't look like anything
Hi Guy (and others),
Well, I have the answer from the native Japanese speaker and at least we don't have to feel bad about not being able to make any sense of it. Look what he wrote:
"Olafo, this looks like Bubba at work wth a pantograph, as the second line is nonsense. It translates to something like "Telescope retaining bracket for barrel axis display" and does not make any sense, let alone as a marking on a 12.7cm round case. "
I fully agree that this is 100% different from anything I'd expect to see on the headstamp of an IJN case.
But.... with the complete translation of the second line, I've got a hunch as to what it might be, and I'll run that by you:
Previously I did notice the odd insert in the centre of the case and perhaps too easily explained it away as being "some central part" of a trench art ashtray. Upon taking a closer look, I think that in fact it may be a 'base' of some kind of small telescope. I have added some more pictures of it.
There are some observations:
-The case has been shortened to perfection and the edge has been perfectly rounded off, such that it is not 'flat' but perfectly smoothly rounded. Looks like a machine job. It appears to be too perfect for a manual shortening job.
-The brass insert has a crafted side, which was 'turned' on a lathe. Fits the concept of a "display" item. It protrudes, sticking out some 4 CMs above the case mouth. The top of it has a slight "cup" shape (in which a 'roundish' shape would fit really well) and the centre of it has a 15 mm wide hole in it and when I put a screwdriver in it, it goes some 5 CMs down and touches something soft. It comes across as something cloth-like.
-The head of the case by no means looks like it was "turned off" and it has a very thick rim. This is a vital clue. The rim is 4mm wider than that of a 127x581R service round. This is another vital clue.
-The text on the base is done to extreme perfection. All the markings are 100% in line and were obviously stamped in by a machine.
-A new finding: it turns out that to the right of the serial number there's a small Chrysanteum (with a 'simple five pointed star' on the inside).
What I strongly suspect is that this was once an official "presentation item" or perhaps an official "gift" to special people. By all means it would appear that the case was never 100% finished for service use (too wide rim and NO headstamp present on it). The insert could actually very well be a support for a small telescope. The case base is very heavy and the cup shape with centre hole of the insert look like it could have taken a peg on the inside with a ball shaped telescope support resting in the cup, such that it can turn without falling out. Quite possibly the telescope (which then sadly is missing) would have been in the shape of the barrel of a 12.7 CM gun. I think that too could fit the translation of the text well.
I hope someone recognises such items. It's certainly an odd and interesting thing. I am aware of several distinct Japanese "official commemorative" items that use artillery ammo in it. I very strongly suspect this item to fit that line. If it's not an official "presentation/display/gift" item, then it was certainly crafted to perfection by someone.
What I'm also curious about is if the Japanese is 'technically spoken' correct, or if it is some carefully combined mumbo-jumbo that just resulted in "cool looking" Kanji markings. Whichever the answer to that question is will also be a vital clue as to the likelihood of it being an official item or just some handiwork by a very talented person who transformed it into a fantasy item for whatever reason...
Thank God! I was going crazy. I saw the proof mark earlier, but thought you already noticed it. Actually it is a cherry blossom; the star inside is actually the petal's stamen.
Oooops. I meant the cherry blossom of course; the chrysanthemum is quite different and bears a distinct meaning. Thanks for the correction!
The native Japanese speaker just added the following:
"You may have something there, as possibly a base for a display piece. I just do not know what a 膅軸表示用望遠鏡 (barrel axis display telescope) is, as I have never heard of any such device. There might have been an aiming scope that defines the barrel line axis extension but have anybody heard of any such device."
The more I think about it, I would put my money on the proper interpretation being something like: "barrel shaped telescope on an axis, for display", i.e. most likely some kind of special gift/display item that was probably not intended for true military use. I'm not excluding the possibility that it actually was for military use, e.g. something like an aiming/spotting telescope or perhaps the base part of some device that actually needed to be chambered, but my two main reasons for thinking along the lines of something that's for "display" purposes only are:
1) The absence of arsenal and IJN approval marks and other typical arsenal stamps of importance such as the date of manufacture.
2) The inner part of the case appears to have been cut on a lathe to a shape that looks 'prettier' than a simple straight shaft would have. This for me very strongly suggests that time was spent on doing that only to make it look better, without having any military benefit whatsoever.
Having said all that, there IS a serial number on it, and there are the tiny proof marks that could have served as IJN acceptance marks, but in that case I can't see it having passed an arsenal. Very odd. I hope someone recognises it or otherwise knows more about it....
Thanks a lot for all your help again!
Anti-Aircraft gun bore-sight? .... maybe????
Firstly, the native Japanese speaker just added the following information:
"Olafo, no it cannot be anything like a "barrel shaped telescope on an axis for display". The Kanji are just not written that way. The only translation would be as I noted above, a Barrel axial projection optical telescope, and unfortunately I do not know what that is."
...and then you found this information on that boresight!
Wow, this is dynamite stuff!
So, with the 'telescope display' option out of the question due to the text not possibly having that meaning, in all reality it DOES sound like it's most likely a part of some tool after all, and most likely one that needed to be chambered. In modern days I would have guessed the centre hole to have taken a laser pointer for barrel aiming, but those weren't around then. Possibly something else (like a long rod or so) went in the hole?!
I don't know nearly enough about guns and the tools that were (and are) used for adjusting them etc., so I don't know if the boresight is quite it, but it does sound like something that could fit the profile. Maybe some light source went into the centre hole.
The part that I don't fully understand is the 'optical telescope' part. With the construction of the base of it as it is there's certainly no way one could have "looked through it from the breech end", so if indeed it's some part of an optical alignment/calibrating tool, the only thing that comes to mind is that perhaps some light source or so would go in the centre hole, and that the "optical telescope" part was put on the muzzle end (like is seen in the picture you attached).
Wow, interesting stuff!
I hope someone knows! ...and tells!